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tv   Book TV  CSPAN  May 23, 2011 7:30am-8:00am EDT

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signing and the madden signing area. >> for more information on this and other events from this festival visit tucson festival of >> from 2011 los angeles times festival of books, walter mosley, author of 12 steps toward clinical revelation discusses his book and answers book tv viewers questions. it's about half an hour. >> we have a novel to is the tho creator of characters likeve fearless joe, and written a book that reminds me a bit of the of pamphleteers around the time of the revolution. >> i love those guys. >> guest: i love this guy.
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>> host: what did you do with this book? >> guest: you know, i have a deep distrust of specialists and experts. as we understand it, if you are smart enough and educated enough to be an expert in something, then you're brought up by the appropriations so mainly what to do is why, you tell people things against their best interest even though you're the smartest and most capable person to tell them the truth. and so i decided i would write a book from my more pedestrian standpoint about how one can reclaim citizenship in the united states by understanding certain things about themselves, and by going through it will step kind of program that would free us from those things that are changing us and addicting us to certain ways we live in america. >> host: and you explain you know of addiction, the 12 step program from your life experience. >> guest: well i'm really not
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the expert there but i do know about addictions and i've smoked three packs of filter lists cigarettes for the longest time, and i was a very deeply troubled alcoholic. >> host: one of the freeze is i wrote down that your analysis of the state we are in is we are no longer citizens. what do you mean by that? >> guest: a lot of people complain that americans or not enough americans vote or people aren't voting or whatever, but i think that one of the reasons people aren't voting is because we actually feel that our vote is less influential than the multinational corporations dollar, and i believe that that's true. i believe that we live here, we vote here, but we are not really given a real choice, and we haven't really been able to identify ourselves and to
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separate ourselves from the needs of corporations, big business and also big government as it deals with big business. >> host: walter mosley is with us for an half an hour and we will mixing your calls, e-mail messages and tweets and look forward to them. here's more of the diagnosis of the state we are in as he sees it. most of us in modern-day america are sick, we suffer deep emotional displacement from the line is we are told and the subsequent lies we tell ourselves. i'm fine, doing well, part of a healthy space policy. i'm helping my children become whole, helping individuals, none or at least little of this is true. so what does society look like to you? >> guest: what it looks like to everybody. we do a lot of eating fast food, we get educations that don't really help us become full well-rounded people. we involve ourselves in a political where we think things
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will happen but we know they are not going to happen, so we are actually kind of schizophrenic. we are doing something that we say well i hope this is doing well but i know it's not going to do well, like for instance saying i will elect a democratic president and then we won't be fighting war anymore. i will elect a black president and there won't be racism anymore. all kinds of notions we have the we know aren't going to work but we hope for the best, we hope things will work out and finally we will be able to retire and make a living wage, we will get equal medical care, everybody will be treated in a way that is just and right. >> host: what is your prescription of this? >> guest: a lot of it is we have to figure out who we are, where we are, we have to figure out the class we are in and what is the difference between democracy and capitalism and how those very different structures separate in really important
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ways and in those important ways it is almost like the american citizens get drawn in quarter. we have to figure out who we are and what we are, and a lot of that is questioning ourselves, questioning our educational system and we want in our everyday life. >> host: are you hoping this dialogue begins within individuals or in a country of 300 million plus? are you seeing some other place where this discussion will have an? >> guest: everything has to start with the individual. one of the big problems that we have in america is we let's say in the presidential election or any other e election if you vote for the person you want to get elected then you feel o.k. now - elected the person who's espoused what i believe, what i want, now i can just step back and let them do what they said they are going to do but we forget about all of the corporations and people they pay to influence america and how
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america votes. very often as every day work being people with the elected officials in the doing aren't, are often not in our best interest and that's one of the biggest problems that we have. we have to understand salote i have to be involved every day so it has to start with individuals but we have to work together because individuals alone are not brinton the difference whether the individual is an everyday working plumber or president of the united states >> host: are all corporations that? >> guest: the system of capitalism is based on making profits of the labor of work. that is if not checked it's bad for people. i'm not going to see people and corporations are mad. they are just another part of the puzzle. i'm not want to see the businesses themselves are bad. they're just another part of the
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puzzle with the structure itself is problematic. it's like his white sugar that? no, but it's bad for you. it's not evil it's just white sugar but it's not good for you you better not just be eating white sugar or you won't live very long. >> host: beginning with a call from vermont, and he wore on with walter mosley. >> caller: i heard you lived there as well and i wondered if you have any stories. >> guest: i am sorry i didn't hear that one. >> caller: if you studied writing and if you have any stories that you can share with us. >> guest: it's so sada, he was the writing teacher when i was there and i didn't study with him. i'm sorry, i didn't start writing until i was in my mid-30s and went to goddard college when i was in my 20s, so, no, though i would have -- i
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miss not doing that. >> host: do you go back and speak to the students? >> guest: i've been back to talk to them and to read their stuff but i don't -- i didn't study writing. >> host: next is built you washington. you are on with walter mosley. go ahead. >> caller: hello, yes, i am old, i am a nam vet and i just wanted to mention or comment on the contrast between the serious issues we have going right now today that are mortal and bad and people are daunting but the basic issue that we are hotly debating when we have somebody debating an issue is pretty much exactly what i encountered in 1967 when i got out of vietnam i had been wounded and i went right in to the college scene on the west coast, and i mean it
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was hot on the west coast and -- >> host: and what is the issue were debating back then that you're still debating now? >> caller: the basic -- the foundation of what really is c'mon, like the speaker just commented on, capitalism is for all the things good coming essentially separated workers from the surplus value that they have created often with physical damage of their health and that's what we were talking about 40 years ago, 50 years ago. the same thing. and we have to stay on that. >> host: thank you. thanks for the call. >> guest: thanks very much. >> host: is this something that has been debated without any progress in 40 or 50 years? >> guest: i think it has. and one of the problems that i think people have is that we have -- we start to talk about
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separate. like my muscular system could somehow exist separately from my skeletal system but somehow separately from my organs. the issue is you can't completely get rid of capitalism because it is an economic system and it's not an economic system that can be defined a way but there are other systems that have to work with it and i think that a lot of america suffered and the whole world has suffered is rather than try to get our various systems to work together and aligned together this against that like socialism is against capitalism and democracy and what ever and coming you know, i am saying we need to work together and meet the system and people to work together.
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>> it's closer to utilitarianism and fascism than it is to the space process. can you explain more? >> guest: capitalism is basically i need the structure, the people, the whole of the workers in order to make as much profit as possible for the business, for the corporation, for the company. i don't have to worry about your health, i don't have to worry about your well-being. i don't have to worry about how long you live, i don't have to worry about you once you don't work for me anymore. i can find your you whenever i want. all of these are just using the individuals not treating them as if the have intrinsic values. the only value is the profit and the labor that you can make. so of course that's absolutism. it's not any kind of sense of
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what's your part if you don't like a job you can quit that's it. >> host: writing a book to sell to the public is taking part in the capitalistic -- how do you square the -- >> guest: like i said before you don't have to have this but you might want to control system for instance you might want to say yes, you should be able to get profit on anything you sell, but what you sell it is necessary for the livelihood or the life of people like for instance an apple maybe you can get away with charging a thousand dollars for an apple but that should be wrong. you can make 10% on an apple. as much as you want on platinum bling i don't care how much profit to make but when it comes to an apple or gasoline people actually need to get to and from work if it has to do with clothes and staying warm in the winter these are things you need to control, not capitalism is still going to work you have to make a profit to meet the
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business work with if you control profit capitalism will adjust itself to that. >> host: next is a call from ohio. hello, col. >> caller: hello, mr. mosley, how are you this afternoon? hauer you, ma'am? >> host: thanks. your question, please? call trustees six >> caller: as for his political revelation wouldn't it be good to go to the local level and maybe have people maryland and i don't know it is around the country but in my area for instance we have something called the precinct committee people on both the democratic and the republican side that go and basically make the rules and make the decisions about how the local political parties run and in turn that is how they endorse candidates for the local, state and national level. what if we were to get people involved in the committee type of wave doing things and then
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you get more of the american pit of beast in the political party and then one more thing i have is all the stuff going on as part of a social media and the internet, wouldn't it be likely that some day we can possibly get big business out of politics because with all the free social media and the information that we have at our fingertips, wouldn't that be a little more connecting with people for the politicians to get the point across? >> guest: the second thing that you're seeing is interesting because i think that our form of project is really outdated. we are executing the 19th century within the 21st century. we could have a kind of like a national parliament that the devotee as a citizen would be a member of. we could literally fought for the vote every day. i'm not sure if it is possible but we might be able to think about and i think that we need to modernize and half-hour
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politics work along with our technology. i think that's one thing that's absolutely true. the other thing is yes, people were working a local level, they would only do it if they felt that it made a difference and i just want to -- this is a criticism of the language that you're using when we talk about the democratic and the republican party, i don't really see them as political parties or as representatives of people but i see them as more of a public interest corporation. these are organizations that have to raise a great deal of money in order to impact the power making systems of the united states. i would like to circumvent the republicans and democrats if people are working together on what's interesting, with their interests are between each other and not what your interests are as they are dictated by the parties. >> host: what you think of the tea party? >> guest: in a lot of ways the tea party talks the talk and i
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am interested in them as far as trying to organize and reorganize and rather than identify ourselves as one group with one set of morals each person says what is the most important thing to me and see how we all get together on that. all people are working class people and have the same things they're interested in, interested in living wage and aging with dignity and their children getting a good education and able to retire one day and living a life that is safe for themselves so it doesn't matter. where you come from, with the so-called race to come from, what engender you are and age you are we have a lot of things in common and if we are able to vote on those rather rantings we are arguing about which the republicans and democrats and the tea party talk about them against this and that i met with
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am i for? if i can get us together what we are for we can work together. >> host: does this have to do with our ability to move forward? >> guest: if koppel. i believe if we limit what america's and roads if i was able to find what america's the end you'd in find every american is worth more than a million dollars. once americans realize we are worse, if i tell you listen, you are worth $3 million then you have an infected tooth and can't afford to go to the dentist you can say i'm worth $3 million i can't go to the dentist, how come i can't keep a good education? how we are dealing with the debt has much more to do with
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corporate structure than it does what we are and what the value of the great nation and in national balance sheet. >> guest: and we can say to pay that off we are going to have to for the next seven years nationalized gas or if you can see natural gas or if you can say with some, the oceans of the borders of the united states with hundreds of chileans and what's with those oceans so i can get some of that value and have it in my life. i feel we make up a lot of the stuff, it's like making up bernie madoff. he exists but there's a lot of people who'll stole our money and let us money on property that we knew wasn't what we were paying for and that we were going to lose that money one day. there's a lot of criminality in
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american economics and a lot of it is based on a series of lies that nobody else is saying anything else but i think that we are worth a lot more than we believe we are. >> host: the next question is from los angeles. right here. hello, walter. this is victor. i'm sorry i didn't get a chance to see you today but now i have another book to track down. but listen, it seems to me we get sidetracked over issues to perjury, involvement of willson under the bush a administration, and it makes me frustrated as far as who was running things because we aren't addressing issues like to state it, anything from tax reforms,
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medical. i'm just getting frustrated like to stated earlier. is it even with my trouble to vote? >> guest: i am not an expert which is a good thing. i'm going to be lying to you, but because i'm like a regular guy i might be able to say something that is true i met with a group i was with a group of the most progressive thinkers in the united states in new york, the congressman and president said we have to bail out the corporation and i said to them listen, why don't we just figured out of this gigantic bailout amount is and take every taxpayer in the united states to meet less than $40,000 just split up among them, give the money to them and what they spend it whenever they spend it on it's okay. they can spend it on their kids' education, or they can spend it on gasoline, it doesn't matter
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because at least the money would go through them before getting back to the bank. even this group of incredibly progress of left political thinkers says no, no, no, we can't trust the individuals, we can't trust people, we have to give people who know how to spend that money. that's how we need to do the bailout. they want to give it to somebody else who's an intermediary. i think we can take care of ourselves, we can run this country, we on the whole have most of this in common that we need to trust ourselves and the system that makes choices trust the citizens and therefore the citizens feel they are not well represented and that's true, we are not. from chicago. hello, caller. >> caller: picking up on what you just said, the head of the fall when all of this stimulus
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stuff was going they had this ungodly amounts of money they were going to spend to give, you know, everybody either a rebate or something and it cost them like 6 billion to get everybody $50. i'm thinking why does it cost 6 million to deal with 300 million? i was in the same sort of feeling that you were, like if every american got a million dollars it would cost them less than what they seem to be moving all this money around and then every american gets a million dollars and zero outs and spend then that is a huge stimulus and it's not costing of that bureaucracy. the costs so much money to hand out so much less money. the only think about voting that i've had in a poll might start it in half and finished is likely it is feeling more like an act of defiance than an exercise in power but i'm not when to stop voting. i'm still going to have even if i go to the polls in defiance
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i'm going to be doing it. >> guest: voting is a good exercise, but one has the question and we need to question ourselves every day is it working, is it helping, is it enough because to be part of the space polity voting is the first step, not the last. most people in america see that's the last, i voted for barack obama, george bush, and now they are going to do what i want. it's never true. it's something we have to do. >> host: we have a big debate going on in this country about the state of american education. you have a set of suggestions for the universal education that all 18-year-old men and women of normal intelligence should have achieved at the end of a public-school education. what does that look like? >> guest: there's certain things people in america -- i don't remember them scientific literacy, we need to understand the technology that runs the world. everybody should be able to
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describe a fault or feeling they have in an essay. we should be able to know our history in such a way that we question it, to say listened, morning, making mistakes. people who came before me were learning and making mistakes. how did they learn, what is our history, where are we going? the simple common sense notion of what an education is. also, i think we have to kind of vote away from the great because of the grading system causes us to not think more than the cause is to think. there are some things you need to test and in order to understand altar where you need to be bush's of the equation. title -- puts the answer you need to be able to solve the the question and it has nothing to do with solving the equation, you need to be able to answer the test but you also need to be able to take chances, be able to think for yourself, you need to be able to think creatively and artistically, and it's a very simple, i know i have like ten
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points there, i also want to say that in the plans i give it is a place that you leave from. other people have different ideas and i find it interesting dialogue. host could you speak about teacher competency. >> guest: i think the teacher should be able to understand. i mean, the interesting thing is that number one, the competency of a teacher is they are confident will how many students were in the class? 107. the teacher probably no matter how smart they were they probably were not confident. if the number of students was ten or 12 than i can start to be able to talk about individual confidence. but we need to have a big investment in how we've run schools. also certainly the most important thing that a teacher has to do, a teacher has to have a deep concern and care for their students. if they don't, if they are not in that position they shouldn't be in that position. >> host: riverside california, you are on. >> caller: good afternoon. all of this is talking about
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voting, and everyone seems to be missing the main pool about devoting themselves. it's brought up people just kind of run over it like it's no big deal, old news or something, that the right wing dominates the voting machines here and in the 2010 election i was watching c-span and they had even republicans on their disgusted with their candidates saying they were going to vote democrat and then we had that a grand slam and the lead up to that election right wing politics were saying how they were going to take it and the sand that and they were just a little too small to and lo and behold, you know, the miraculously occurred. now why are democratic leaders on top of this because as long as they keep getting themselves in we are going to have that laws and that is where all of this is coming from and it's
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getting worse. >> host: thank you >> guest: i don't know what to say. >> host: she's worried about voting machines if we cast our vote as not accurately capturing the will of the people. >> guest: i worry about technology and it's true when you have issues with the voting machine, when the people's vote isn't properly represented, that's always an issue. however, i think there are deeper problems. i think that the deepest problem that we experience is that the people we elect end up working for people who can spend the most money on influencing them either in general are very specific ways. so even though i am worried about the voting machines, but i am more worried about is our
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continual involvement because as i said before, i think of voting is only the first step. we have a lot to do from then and one of the big problems i think barack obama has and the reason people are angry with his the voted for him and now he's going to do it. i talked to all these people before the election. he's going to get elected and the war is the and to be over. law beagle the war is double. but that's more powerful than it is his. >> host: we have one minute left. when you see the next election and the debate coming with you to the election is going to be centered on? >> guest: i think they believe, a lot of it will be centered on issues of people criticizing what i'm saying, barack obama is a socialist or the big government is squashing of the economy of america. the big fight will be about the economy in america which is a sad thing because we are killing people in afghanistan everyday
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and in iraq and there's these offers propping up. what i'm saying through the book where i would approach it is we need to change ourselves. we need to change the way we see the government and we need to be involved at least 90 minutes every day in the policy to make a difference because nothing else is when to matter except us being involved. it doesn't matter who's elected or in power but the people in the united states are involved every day in what they think is best for themselves and their fellow citizens, then we will have a better country. >> host: this is the book we are talking dhaka, "twelve steps toward political >> thank you. >> this event was part of the 2011 los angeles times festival of books. for more information visit a of books


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